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Motif Information
Rōmaji Ran
English Orchid
Season Spring, Summer
Seasonal Exceptions Autumn, Winter
Auspicious No
Motif Type Flower

Ran means orchid. There are 38 species of orchids native to Japan and ran is a general term for the motif. More specific terms may be used to identify the exact species.

Orchids first started to be cultivated as a house plant in the Edo period. Fūkiran (富貴蘭,Neofinetia falcata, wind orchid) is probably the most famous of the orchids bred in this period. Collected from the wild, where it grows symbiotically on deciduous tree branches, it was bred by daimyo and samurai. Fūkiran typically blooms in June and July, depending on the latitude.

Other species of native orchids bloom in mid summer, sekkoku (石斛, Dendrobium moniliforme, Japanese stone orchid); autumn, some varieties of ebine (natsu-ebine, Calanthe reflexa); and winter, kanran (寒蘭,Cymbidium kanran, cold orchid).

Seasonal Use, Exceptions & Pairings

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Motif Connotations & Symbolism

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Auspicious Nature

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Common Motif Pairings

Identification & Style Variations

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Motif Examples

Motif in Literature & Other Usage

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In Poetry

Article Notes

Relevant Threads / Discussions

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Image Credits

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Authors & Contributors

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